NC 11 wreck claims life

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 14, 2007

AHOSKIE – Ryan Seals enjoyed life to the fullest.

On any given day, customers of Andy’s Cheesesteaks in Ahoskie or Murfreesboro could look forward to a kind word and a smile from Seals and they would attest to the fact that he could satisfy their hunger by cooking to perfection one of the many items offered on the restaurant menu.

On Friday morning en route to work at the Ahoskie restaurant, Seals, 27 of Murfreesboro, lost his life in a traffic accident on NC 11 near the Meherrin Indian Tribal Grounds.

As expected, those Seals worked with on a daily basis took the news hard.

“Ryan and I were best friends for the past seven years,” said Ahoskie Andy’s owner/operator Chris Westbrook. “He was just a great guy, always outgoing and always spontaneous.”

Westbrook said Seals had worked at over 30 different Andy’s locations during the past nine years.

“He has operated some of our stores, waited tables, cooked, cleaned; he’s done it all,” Westbrook noted. “He just loved working with Andy’s, interacting with the employees and the customers.”

Outside the workplace, Westbrook said Seals enjoyed golf, playing video games and watching football.

“He loved the Denver Broncos,” Westbrook said. “John Elway (Denver’s retired quarterback) was his all-time favorite player. He also loved (the University of) Colorado football and Wake Forest (University) basketball. He was a sports nut.”

A native of Missouri, Seals graduated from White Oak High School near Jacksonville where he competed in soccer and ran track. He refereed youth soccer matches and baseball and softball games in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

According to a report filed by North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Jones, Seals was operating a 2000 Volvo passenger car southbound on NC 11 Friday morning. At approximately 11:05 a.m., Seals’ vehicle was approaching a vehicle stopped in his lane that was waiting for oncoming traffic to clear in order to turn left into the Meherrin Tribal Grounds.

Apparently, Seals could not stop his car in time. Trooper Jones’ report showed that Seals steered his car onto the right-hand shoulder of the road in order to avoid striking the stopped vehicle. His car reentered the roadway out of control, crossed the centerline and veered off the left-hand shoulder of the road where it struck a ditch and overturned.

Seals, who reportedly was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

His death was the 16th of the year within the Highway Patrol’s Troop A, District II area (Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties). Six of those fatalities have occurred in Hertford County.